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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Wheat gluten, also called seitan ,  wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from the gluten of wheat.
  • Wheat gluten is the water-insoluble protein complex in the wheat endosperm. Commercially it is the term given to industrial by-products of wheat starch production via wet milling purposes. Its composition is: 70 - 80% crude protein, 6 - 8% crude lipids, 10 - 14% carbohydrates, 0.8 - 1.4% minerals.

Process

  • Wheat gluten is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as a gummy mass, which is subject to further processing.
  • If the gluten is extracted and gently dried in hot air at moderate temperatures it maintains it's characteristics. If so it is designated "vital gluten". Vital gluten may be added as a dry powder to flour otherwise low in gluten and thereby improve the baking qualities of the flour.

Technology

  • The cold-ethanol method of separating wheat starch and protein from a developed dough can successfully produce concentrated vital gluten that has comparable or better functional performance than vital gluten produced in aqueous methods.

Uses

  • Gluten in general is used as a meat extender in both food and feed. The fermentation industry consumes large amounts of gluten and by acid hydrolysis it is used for production of hydrolyzed vegetable protein and glutamic acid.
  • Wheat gluten is very effective in binding meat chunks or trimmings together to form restructured steaks or chops and may be applied simply by dusting the meat pieces with dry gluten.
  • The most common usage of gluten in western countries has traditionally been, and continues to be, in baked goods of various types. However, with an increasing awareness of  wheat glutenís unique structural and functional properties has come an expanding diversity of applications.

Market

  • Consumption of vital wheat gluten in the U.S. has risen drastically. The demand for more (and varied) bakery products has driven the demand for vital wheat gluten. Also, increased gluten availability from the EU, Australia, and other countries has driven down domestic prices and made the use of vital wheat gluten in commercial baking operations much more feasible in recent years.
  • Historically, vital wheat gluten prices are relatively low (high) when supplies of high protein U.S. wheat are high (low). However, low protein contents within the domestic wheat crop means that domestic vital wheat gluten production is also low. This increases demand for vital wheat gluten manufactured in other countries.

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